'Charade': Lessons in Creative Vision From a College Student

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In the summer of 1984, Sheridan College student Jon Minnis set out to complete an ambitious project, armed with only PANTONE markers and paper. After four months of writing and polishing a clever script, he spent another three meticulously storyboarding and animating it into an elegant, minimalist four-minute film titled Charade, which Minnis voiced himself.

The gem went on to win the 1985 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film and remains a heartening example of dreaming up a project and bringing it single-handedly to life. Or, as Goethe almost put it:

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin It! Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

Charade is available on the altogether excellent 1994 collection World's Greatest Animation, featuring Academy Award winners and nominees from the years 1978-1991.

Image: Jon Minnis. Via Animation Graduate Films.

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This post also appears on Brain Pickings, an Atlantic partner site.

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Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings. She writes for Wired UK and GOOD, and is an MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow.

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